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Four apprentice coaches earn development opportunities

Four Canadian coaches have been chosen to take part in the 2019 Apprentice Coach program offered in partnership by Swimming Canada and the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association. This will allow coaches the opportunity to work alongside the national senior, development, Para-swimming, and open water teams at specific international events.

Together Swimming Canada and CSCTA chose the four candidates, each of whom will attend a major competition taking place this summer. The following were selected from numerous applications received:

Open Water BestFest (May 22 – June 3, Mallorca, Spain): Robert Novak, Manta Swim Club (Winnipeg)

18th FINA World Championships (July 21-28, Gwangju, Republic of Korea): Phil Garverick, Pointe-Claire Swim Club (Montreal)

World Junior Championships (Aug. 20-25, Budapest, Hungary): Melanie Melanson, Codiac Vikings Aquatic Club (Moncton, N.B.)

World Para Swimming Championships (Dates/Place TBC): Ian Roopnarine, COBRA Swim Club, (Brampton, Ont.)
Each apprentice coach will work as part of a team staff and have the opportunity for hands-on learning experience alongside the country’s top coaches. Each coach will also provide a report on their experience. CSCTA provided funding to cover each coach’s expenses, while Swimming Canada is facilitating the national team opportunities.

“The CSCTA is very excited to continue partnering with Swimming Canada for the initiative this year and into the future,” said CSCTA President, Lance Cansdale.

“The practical experiences and subsequent reports to our membership will help strengthen our national coaching depth and offer Swimming Canada a greater pool of coaching talent for future national team opportunities.”

Coach Bios:

Robert Novak has coached more than 100 provincial champion swimmers, 35 age group national champions, and has won the CSCTA Award for Domestic Excellence in 14 consecutive seasons. He has coached many swimmers that have reached provincial teams, junior national teams, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and the Olympic Games.

Phil Garverick has won national, junior national, and Eastern titles since his start with the club five years ago. Garverick co-coaches with Martin Gingras at the National and Pre-National level, and is primarily in charge of program development for athletes in the vicinity of national time standards all the way to Trials qualifiers.

Melanie Melanson coaches at the club she got her start in as a young swimmer. Melanson began coaching with the Vikings as an assistant coach as she worked on her education degree, and from there went on to work with the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in Fredericton. During her career she has helped grow her teams in size, established new programs that develop confidence and self-esteem, and produced many Eastern, junior and senior national level swimmers, finalists and medallists. Melanson also worked as an assistant coach for the 2017 Canada Games team that competed in Winnipeg.

Ian Roopnarine joined the COBRA team in 2002 where he has since held numerous coaching positions from pre-competitive to competitive to masters swimming. He has seen success at different levels of the sport. He has had many swimmers qualify for regional, provincial and junior national championships, and Paralympic Trials. He oversees Cobra’s Olympic Way Program and coaches the Olympic Way groups.

“As in 2018, it is great that Swimming Canada can work together with the CSCTA to offer opportunities for coaching apprenticeships across all our team programs this summer. Opportunities such as these will provide great learning experiences for coaches in Canada,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.

“Experience in the moment with teams, both in final preparation and through the competition is critical to learning for the future for all coaches working with athletes.”

Phil Garverick already has an inside look at what being an apprentice coach is all about following his attendance at a recent national team camp. After helping out as part of the staff for two days, he feels it is an excellent learning experience both personally and for his swim club.

“It is a huge honour to be able to spend time with the coaches and the staff and the athletes and watch how they do things. It is pretty amazing,” said Garverick.

“It is great to see the team coming together.”